Martijn Ridderbos, board member and leader of the university crisis team, said this in the university council meeting last week. “The sports centre is available for a number of large examinations, starting from June 15. Other spaces will be availalbe as well. This is a good thing: we will have physical exams where and when it's possible.”
This does not totally exclude the use of proctoring, the controversial form of digital exam surveillance. It depends on the capacity of the rooms, Ridderbos said. “But it will be used as a last resort only.”
According to calculations, the biggest sports hall can hold 182 students, and the dance room will have 39 students, university spokesperson Caroline van Overbeeke says. All rooms normally used for examinations are available, but everything should fit “in the maximum capacity of the room, and with a maximal capacity of 20 percent of the building.”
Starting today, the university libraries are open. “Our students need places to study.” Opening them up will go in small steps: first ten percent of the normal capacity, then fifteen, then twenty, Ridderbos explained. University staff is supposed to keep working from home for the time being. “It's especially hard to ask now that people are going to bars and the beach again, but we should keep doing it unless it's not an option – in which case you need permission from your boss to enter the university building.” He emphasized that these are the government guidelines.
The physical teaching that starts next week, focuses on students nearing the end of their studies, students that have to do practical work in labs etc, and the mentoring of vulnerable student groups.
Then there is the Dutch government, that wants to keep students out of public transport as much as possible. The current plan is that students can only take the bus or train to university outside the morning and evening rush hours. Unsuprisingly, the universities are unhappy about this, and are calling a change in that rule.
Despite all this, the number of aspiring students that have applied to study at Dutch universities this fall. University organization VSNU says there's six percent more applications more than last year – which was the busiest year ever. An application is not the same as a formal registration though, so it is still uncertain how many students will actually show up.